The HSE (UK) ‘Violence at work: Findings from the 2009/10 British Crime Survey’.

Reporting on the 2009/2010 British Crime Survey (BCS) the report shows that the risk of being a victim of violence at work in the UK is low, down by 9,000 form last year figures with victims of one or more workplace violence incidents accounting for 1.4% of all working adults. Undoubtedly critics will suggest these figures are low and that anecdotally they are much higher. This highlights a systemic under reporting across many work sectors, not wanting to ‘rock the boat’ or ‘nothing ever gets done about it’ underpinning the general malaise in reporting violence at work incidents.

Whilst acknowledging that 677,000 incidents of violence at work (comprising 310,000 assaults and 367,000 threats) is still too many, it is re-assuring that these were actually reported.

The report highlights that those most at risk of assault are staff in protective service occupations, policing, security, and door-supervision etc at 9.0%, staff in health and social welfare roles combined accounting for 6.4% with skilled trade-persons, technology professionals, and those working in printing and textiles being at least risk.

The majority of workplace assaults (65%) came from strangers the remainder; service users, customers, clients or members of the public known to the victim through work. Last years figures show an estimated 7% increase in repeat victims on those of 2008/09 but reassuringly show a 10% fall in the number of assaults which caused injury.

Alcohol and drugs feature in almost 60% of workplace violence incidents victims reporting the offender as being under their influence in 38% and 19% of cases respectively. So whilst the BCS continues to provide trend evidence of a steady decline in the numbers of workplace violence incidents there is still work to be done as we continue to hear of staff globally who face violence and aggression at work on a daily basis.

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